A friend we visited the other day, having noticed from my blog that my rhubarb is rubbish this year, gave me a big bag full of hers. How kind!
I'd had my eye on the rhubarb cordial recipe over at Colour it Green, so that was what I planned to do first. I started by chopping all the rhubarb into the jamming kettle, which took a while, then cooked it without water (I was surprised it didn't need any water, but it didn't). It really did need an hour for all of it to squish down, and it needed stirring fairly frequently, too.
Having stewed all the fruit*, I then needed to hang it up overnight to strain the juice out. The tricky bit is finding something to hang it from. Our kitchen is the old fashioned kind that has cup hooks everywhere. It also has a wooden beam running along the middle of the ceiling, so I thought there was a fair chance the two might come together. Sure enough, when I looked for it, there it was!
Having found that, I had to get the stuff up there. I didn't have a jelly bag, but I do have a big piece of muslin, which just about went round the fruit as I had it folded. Several scalded fingers later, I had the bundle tied up with string and stood on a stool to tie it to the hook. Thankfully, the hook was strong enough to take the weight.
It was amazing that such an uninspiring brown sludge produced such pretty pink juice. The next morning it was still dripping slowly, so I left it until I'd done various other jobs, then took it down, drips or no. I was surprised to find that the juice was already quite syrupy at this stage. Then it was just a matter of adding sugar (to taste - I can't be bothered with measuring and weighing) and drinking some - to test it, of course ;-)
So what about the leftovers? I still had a huge quantity of stewed (if unsweetened - important not to forget that bit) rhubarb sitting in a bowl. Crumble is the obvious answer, but Ian doesn't like it. I fancied having a go at fool, with a vague memory of a gooseberry fool recipe that was basically just fruit and cream. I though I'd better check this, though, and consulted Delia. She said that there were various ways to make fool, but this was the best, and proceeded with a complicated recipe involving egg custard. I ignored Delia and tried Rose Elliot, who said that fool can be made with custard, cream or yoghurt. That's more like it, and I didn't really need a recipe.
I did need cream though, which I didn't have... as such. I'd read on the 'ish forum that it's possible to return butter to its original state (i.e. cream) by melting it in milk and whizzing up in a food processor. The proportions vary from half as much butter as milk for single cream to equal quantities for double. With this in mind, I'd bought some unsalted butter last time we went to the supermarket, about three weeks ago (the usual salted would be OK for savoury things, but not sweet) as they don't sell cream in the local shop. This unexpected rhubarb bonanza entirely justified this decision!
I whizzed up the warm milk and butter in the food processor** then added the stewed fruit and some sugar. The machine didn't mix it very well as it was too gloopy, but with a bit of poking it got there in the end.
It's really not pretty, but it is very tasty. Even Ian liked it :-)
* No, not technically fruit, it's stems, but it's used as fruit, OK?
** In the interests of reducing electricity usage, I would mix up the cream with a whisk - which works, but probably not as well as the blender - and putting up with lumps from the stewed fruit. Ian, on the other hand, doesn't like bits in his yoghurt and as he hasn't tried fool before, I didn't want to take any chances with the texture.
About this blog
- Wales, United Kingdom
- In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.